Composition and variability of precursors of vitamin A in pumpkin accessions for biofortification breeding

D.J.H. Silva, I. Lima Neto, F.M. Sobreira, P.C.S. Carneiro, P.C. Stringheta
The tropical pumpkin, Cucurbita moschata Duchesne, is an important source of carotenoids, mainly α-carotene and β-carotene. Pumpkin consumption minimizes the effects caused by hypovitaminosis A in the human body. Therefore, characterization of pumpkin germplasm based on the composition of carotenoids is important, to make judicious use of genetic resources for breeding programs. The objective of this study was to characterize pumpkin accessions from the Vegetable Genebank of the Federal University of Viçosa (BGH/UFV) regarding the composition of carotenoids, seeking to identify parents with a high content of precursors of vitamin A. At the Plant Science Department at the UFV, Viçosa-MG, Brazil, from January to July 2011, 55 accessions from various geographical regions, maintained by the BGH/UFV, were grown and compared, with three commercial cultivars as controls. Based on indirect estimates of total carotenoids and lutein, 19 accessions were selected, from which carotenoids were extracted and quantified by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). The pumpkin accessions maintained at the BGH/UFV have high variability in content of vitamin A precursors, including β-carotene (12.8 to 286.7 μg g-1) and α‑carotene (8.1 to 153.8 μg g-1). The accessions designated BGH-6997, BGH-7664, BGH-7319 and BGH-7317 had the highest content of α-carotene and β-carotene (101.5-153.8 and 181.3-286.7 μg g-1, respectively), and can be employed in pumpkin breeding programs for developing biofortified cultivars.
Silva, D.J.H., Lima Neto, I., Sobreira, F.M., Carneiro, P.C.S. and Stringheta, P.C. (2016). Composition and variability of precursors of vitamin A in pumpkin accessions for biofortification breeding. Acta Hortic. 1127, 315-320
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2016.1127.49
Cucurbita moschata, genetic resource, pre-breeding, genebank

Acta Horticulturae